Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Life. Death. And...Love?
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.
Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?
Other books by the author:
Long Story Short:
Having read a couple of other novels Elizabeth Scott has written - and remembering them as boring as bland - I was really skeptical of Heartbeat - but shouldn't have been. The novel tackled a very important and difficult topic in a way that was neither judgemental nor superficial. It gave the reader not only a choice to peek into a life situation so extraordinary and scary - while at the same time allowing to make up one's mind.
Let me start off by saying I did not expect this book to be only half as good as it was. My requesting it on Netgalley was a mistake that I thought I would regret and drag along for the first half of the year, at least.
Oh well, not so!
Heartbeat was amazing from the first page to the last. I got into the novel after reading the first couple of sentences, they set the pace and the mood for the rest of the novel and got me directly into the vibe of it!
Admittedly, I didn't think about the writing and the pace so much as I was reading, but I noticed by the way I was just turning the pages, flying through the book like it was nothing. I read Heartbeat in a day, not only because it was so grapping, so thrilling and so new!
The story idea, I think, has not come up in YA a lot. Basically, it is about the MC's mother who died - and who is now being kept alive by machines, so that the baby she was pregnant with could survive. At first, I didn't think the book would touch me that much because I have never been even close to a situation like that - but it did. Oh, how it did! The issues Emma was faced with, the thoughts going through her head and the decisions she had to make really got me thinking - about the topic itself, sure, but also about my immense dislike of stories I supposedly "cannot identify with".
I had read somewhere that especially the relationship between Emma and her best friend was remarkable and I can only agree. Olivia was the best friend ever!!! Admittedly, I did think her appearences were never really natural and felt forced at times - as though she only appeared on the pages when the author needed some dialogue in the story. Also, Olivia's rejection of everything technological was...interesting, but not really nessecary. Generally, if a side character has a special feature like that, it should either be explored fully (i.e. I want it to have some meaning to the book) or it should be left out. But that was really minor and didn't make me enjoy the story any less.
On to the other characters in this book...
Thinking about it in retrospect, I think quite a few of them could have dine well with a bit more development. Dan was good enough and worked for the story - but I would have liked to see him develop and really understand towards the end. But then again, that might have contributed to the story in a way, too.
The boys: one I fell passionately in love with; the other one I hated with a passion :)
The ending fell a tiny bit flat for me, but it was realistic and I think, in a novel like Heartbeat, you just have to accept an ending like that.
Overall, Heartbeat was a short, but very important, interesting, grapping novel that I would recommend to everyone. It moved me.